Kasperi Kapanen
Image: KalPa

Kasperi Kapanen

Hometown:

Kuopio Finland

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1996-07-23

Position:

RW

Eligible for draft:

2014

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2014

Height:

5-10

Acquired:

Trade with Pittsburgh, 2015

Weight:

165 lbs.

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History

2010-11: Kasperi Kapanen played for KalPa Kuopio’s U16 team as a 14-year-old and attended the Pohjola Camp for the top young players in Finland. He scored 14 goals with 8 assists and had 10 penalty minutes in 26 U16 games.

2011-12: Kapanen scored at nearly a point-per-game pace for KalPa’s U18 team and was among the leading scorers for Finland’s U16 team. He scored 13 goals with 11 assists and had 6 penalty minutes in 27 games, including two playoff contests, for the Kuopio club. Kapanen and KalPa teammate Miikka Pitkanen scored 11 goals each to lead Finland’s U16 team and Kapanen had 6 assists; finishing +11 with 20 penalty minutes in 13 international games. Skating for Finland in the 2011 Europe Youth Olympic Games tournament he scored 4 goals with 2 assists and was +3 with 2 penalty minutes in six games.

2012-13: Kapanen made his SM-Liiga debut in December 2012 — joining his father, former NHLer Sami Kapanen, in the KalPa Kuopio lineup —and was one of the top scorers for KalPa’s junior team. He represented Finland in three international tournaments, the 2012 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August, the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship, and the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge in Canada. Kapanen scored 4 goals and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes; averaging 11 minutes of ice time in 13 regular season SM-Liiga games. In four playoff games he had 1 assist and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes. He played 36 games for the KalPa U20 team, scoring 14 goals with 15 assists, and was -3 with 16 penalty minutes. Kapanen played 13 games for Finland in the two U18 tournaments, scoring 9 goals with 5 assists, and was +7 with 6 penalty minutes. In five games at the WHC he scored 3 goals with 6 assists and had 4 penalty minutes.

2013-14: Kapanen assumed a full-time role for KalPa in Finland’s re-christened Liiga and was named to the Finland U20 team that captured a gold medal at the 2014 World Junior Championship. Shuffling between the second and third lines for KalPa — at times skating with leading scorer Arturri Lehkonen (MON) — he scored 7 goals with 7 assists and was -8 with 10 penalty minutes; averaging 16:31 minutes of ice time in 47 games. Kapanen missed time with a mid-season shoulder injury that kept him out of the WJC. KalPa Kuopio missed the Liiga playoffs; finishing last in the 14-team league. Kapanen played for Finland in the 2014 U18 WJC, scoring 1 goal with 1 assist and finishing -3 in five games. Finland finished sixth in the tournament, falling 10-0 to Sweden in a quarterfinal game. Kapanen was the top ranked European skater in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Pittsburgh in the first round (22nd overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with Pittsburgh in July 2014. 

2014-15: Kapanen made his pro debut in North America with Pittsburgh affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton following his second Liiga season with KalPa Kuopio and played for Finland in the 2015 World Junior Championship. He scored 1 goal with 1 assists and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes in four regular season games for the Penguins and scored 3 goals with 2 assists in seven AHL playoff games. Kapanen played 41 regular season games with KalPa, missing time due to injury. He scored 11 goals with 10 assists and was +2 with 14 penalty minutes. Kuopio finished sixth in the regular season, falling to Lukko Rauma in six games in the playoff quarterfinals. Kapanen had five assists and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes in the series. He scored one goal and was -1 in five games for Finland at the WJC. The defending champions finished seventh, falling to Sweden 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

2015-16: Kapanen was acquired by Toronto from Pittsburgh in July as part of the multi-player trade that sent Phil Kessel to the Penguins and  made his NHL debut with the Maple Leafs at the end of February; skating for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies for most of the year. He played for Finland at the 2016 World Junior Championship, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime in the gold medal game against Russia in Finland’s 4-3 win.  Kapanan had no points and was -3 with 2 penalty minutes, averaging 14:46 minutes of ice time in nine games with the Maple Leafs. He scored 9 goals with 16 assists and was +7 with 8 penalty minutes in 44 regular season games for the Marlies. Toronto finished first in the North Division, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals against Hershey. Kapanen scored 3 goals with 5 assists and was +2 in 13 playoff games. He scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was -2 with 2 penalty minutes in seven games for Finland.

Talent Analysis

Kasperi Kapanen plays a cerebral game with the skills and speed to allow him to make the proper plays in all situations and make the players around him better. While not overwhelming from a physical standpoint and with room to continue growing, his hockey sense is on par with the other top players in his age group and he maximizes his talents to get the best out of his game.

Future

Kapanen got his first taste of NHL action in 2015-16, skating in nine games for the Maple Leafs. Pittsburgh's first-round pick in 2014, he will challenge for a roster spot with the Leafs in training camp after playing for the AHL's Toronto Marlies as a 19-year-old. Still a work in progress in terms of his consistency and physical strength, Kapanen has the offensive skill and hockey instincts to be a dangerous scoring forward.

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